Portland Trail Blazers Vs. Washington Wizards Feb. 14 Game Preview: A Fan’s Outlook

The Portland Trail Blazers return to the comfort of the Rose Garden for a Tuesday night (Feb. 14) game against the Washington Wizards. It's a game that the Blazers need to win, not just because Washington is a terrible team, but because the team is heading in the wrong direction again. The Blazers should have been able to beat both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks last week, especially because both games provided opportunities to close them out with wins.

The Blazers have now dropped to 15-13 overall and third place in the Northwest division. The team is also down to No. 8 in the Western Conference standings, a slot that they need to get out of if the Blazers don't want to have to face the Thunder in a first round series. The West standings are pretty bunched up now though, so putting together a win streak this week could help give the Blazers a nice bump up the ranks. The winning has to start soon though, otherwise some big trades are going to become required for the future of the franchise.

Washington is at 6-22 this season, holding on to one of the three worst records in the NBA. Despite having former No. 1 draft pick John Wall running the team, Washington has been incapable of putting many wins on the table this season. The team appears destined to head right back to the NBA Lottery in 2012 and the Blazers should help them by adding another game to that loss column. With the Blazers playing this game at home, there is no room for any excuses about why they cannot simply blowout the Wizards and focus on games in the next two nights.

Portland has games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, meaning the legs could get tired by the time they host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday (Feb. 18). After Tuesday's game (Feb. 14), the Blazers travel to play the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday (Feb. 15) and then return to Portland for a really tough Thursday night game (Feb. 16) against the Los Angeles Clippers. This is why the team needs to play well against the Wizards and rest up for two games against offenses that like to run in the next two nights.

An argument could get made that Portland is better at every position than the Wizards, so everyone simply needs to step up and prove it. Game time is 7 p.m. PT on Valentine's Day.

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*Ryan is a Northwest bred sports fan that has been a Portland Trail Blazers fan for years. He doesn't miss a game, and has high hopes that the Blazers can improve their roster during the offseason and come back even better in the 2011-12 NBA season.

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Updated Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012